PSY 1102 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Immunology, Maximum Capacity, Growth Factor

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16 Dec 2015
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Chapter 12: Emotions, Stress, and Health
I. Stress and Illness
A. Introduction
-in the 1900s, most illness involved infectious disease such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, and
diarrhea
-presently, disease has a strong lifestyle component
-e.g.: heart disease, cancer, and stroke are all preventable
-in terms of the 10 leading causes of disease, half of the mortality rate of these diseases were due
to behaviour
-we are "behaving" our way to an early death
-behavioural medicine
-is the scientific field where psychology and medicine are combined
-health psychology
-this is the psychological component of behavioural medicine
-researchers scientifically study any factors associated with health and illness
-e.g.: how to prevent illness, how to cope with illness, etc.
-we use our knowledge of psychology to get healthier
-the connection between mind and body is huge
B. Stress and Stressors
B.1 Definition
-stress is a bio-psychological process
-it has physiological and psychological components
-stress is the negative emotions we experience when we are faced with events that we
perceive are either challenging or taxing to our resources and beyond our ability
to cope and manage with them
-a stressor is any event that we perceive as threatening, challenging, or taxing to us
B.2 The Stress Response System
-Canon
-one of the first to scientifically study stress
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-both humans and animals, when faced with a threatening situation, have physiological
changes that take place
-the body releases stress hormones such as epinephrine or norepinephrine
-he coined the term "fight or flight"
-the body prepares itself to either take on the situation or leave it as quickly as
possible
-Selye
-coined the term "stress"
-he proposed the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)
-when the body is facing a stressor, it undergoes a sequence involving 3
physiological reactions
1) Alarm Reaction
-the body gets aroused and mobilizes its resources in order to fight or flight the
stress
2) Resistance
-if the stress continues, the body does whatever it takes to cope or resist
3) Exhaustion
-if stress continues, the body's resources become depleted and can no longer
manage / cope with the situation
-we are vulnerable to disease at this point and this may lead to death
-adrenal glands
-found on top of the kidneys
-release stress hormones
-when we are faced with a stressor, the body activates 2 systems
-the cortex signals that the presence of a threat
-it sends messages to the hypothalamus which signals the SNS through the
spinal cord
-the adrenal medulla (inner part of the adrenal gland) is activated and
epinephrine / norepinephrine is released
-the cortex activates the hypothalamus and signals the pituitary gland (the master
gland) which activates the adrenal cortex (outer part of the adrenal gland)
which releases cortisol
-according to Canon, short term stress is good for us, but long term stress is bad
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-stress hormones are adaptive if they last for a short duration
-e.g.: cortisol helps with inflammation
-stress hormones are bad if they last for a long duration, due to things such as chronic
stress
-e.g.: cortisol is toxic and kills neurons long term
B.3 What Causes Stress?
-stressful life events
-catastrophes
-are major stressors
-they impact our health significantly
-involve events that are of massive proportion and are unpredictable
-can be from nature (e.g.: earthquakes) but can also be man-made (e.g.: wars)
-significant life changes
-change is a stressor
-e.g.: end of relationships, death, moving to university, etc.
-daily hassles
-these are the little problems of daily life that are irritating / annoying
-e.g.: being stuck in traffic, waiting in line, etc.
-the number of daily hassles we experience is a better predictor of our physical
health than the number of significant life events we experience
-social and cultural factors
-racism, discrimination, and social inequalities
-we tend to be stressed out under these conditions
-people of the lowest SES are the most stressed
-conflict
-occurs when we have 2 or more choices to choose from
-approach-approach
-this occurs when we have 2 things to consider in a situation, in which
both choices are of equal goodness
-e.g.: choosing a vacation to either New York or Paris
-approach-avoidance
-this occurs when there are some attractive points about a choice, but there
is also a negative side to the choice
-e.g.: you are in a relationship with someone you love, but there are some
characteristics you don't like
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